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Miscellaneous Subtropicals New Mexico


ChrisA
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I wanted to start a thread to share some photos of non-palm, subtropics plants that can be found in New Mexico.  

 

I am located in Albuquerque, zone 7b officially, although it has been trending more towards a cold 8a or 8b climate over the last 20 years. See my W. filifera in albuquerque post in the cold hardy forum for an analysis of this year’s winter temps.

The first photo is of a Coolibah which has been in the ground for over 10 years.  It’s had one winter where the trunk did not die back to the ground, otherwise it reliably fries and takes all summer to make several more 4-5 foot tall shoots which are thin enough to again be smoked by any temps below 25 the following winter.  Now it is in far too much shade as it’s been far outpaced by the nearby Filibusta and a California Sycamore.

909ED942-9D0B-4FB9-99B8-54EACF797168.jpeg

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Another subtropical is the Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert native Fairy Duster, Calliandra eriophylla.

 

This was originally planted around 2008 from a one gallon and has occasionally dies back to the ground.  Seedlings sprout up every year and new growth suckers from the bases in addition to the stalks which sometimes survive the winter.  This last winter had all mild days and so this year is its best yet.

 

AE740CBA-AD8B-49BE-9DD8-7D8D82B49787.jpeg

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On 5/6/2018, 7:57:11, ChrisA said:

Another subtropical is the Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert native Fairy Duster, Calliandra eriophylla.

 

This was originally planted around 2008 from a one gallon and has occasionally dies back to the ground.  Seedlings sprout up every year and new growth suckers from the bases in addition to the stalks which sometimes survive the winter.  This last winter had all mild days and so this year is its best yet.

Glad you started this sub-topic opn non-palm, subtropical plants. Looks like a blast. I'll need to contribute some shortened lists and photos from all my years in ABQ plus several in the El Paso-Las Cruces area.

Not sure what "subtropical" means, though, as some geographers consider only it on the wet areas between temperate and tropical, while others allow dry climates into subtropical but as dry subtropical. Others draw the line between temperate and subtropical at near 30 deg N (there goes El Paso), or 64F yearly mean temperature with the coldest  month <42F (El Paso and Las Vegas NV make it), or the coldest month <32F (helloABQ and central NM, but not Santa Fe). I assume you mean a plant with a range mostly wihin one of the above climate belts?

A definition might help me narrow down what I would contribute. Some might be surprised how many "subtropical" plants are native or grown in our state, especially in ABQ where certain folks before I moved there (1992) and since I've moved (2013) have perpetuated a really cold bias over reality!

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I thought this post would have many replies and plants by now. I think "arid warm temperate" is a more accurate term than "arid subtropical" for Albuquerque and even El Paso, by the way...arid subtropical would imply warmer winters like Tucson, Presidio TX, Phoenix, Palm Springs, etc, where hard freezes below 28F are rare.

Below is a quick, very partial list that hopefully spurs more warm temperate or subtropical companion plants for hardy palms in NM, namely USDA z 7-8 in central and southern NM where several palms can grow well. I'll start with some evergreen plants that are bullet-proof, i.e. need little to no protection from cold and heat in zones where they are adapted. Some have different sun, water, and soil needs - do your research. (N) = native in New Mexico (but not everywhere in the state)

Feel free to comment or add some of your own bullet-proof warm temperate or subtropical plants, so we can have a larger list.

TREES:
Hairy Mountain Mahogany / Cercocarpus breviflorus (N)

Yaupon Holly / Ilex vomitoria

Arizona White Oak / Quercus arizonica (N)

Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis (N)

Gray Oak / Quercus grisea (N)

Desert or Shrub Live Oak / Quercus turbinella (N)

Rosewood / Vauquelinia spp.

 

SHRUBS / VINES:
Pointleaf Manzanita / Arctostaphylos pungens (N)

Algerita / Berberis hemaetocarpa (N)

Agritos / Berberis trifoiiolata (N)

Crossvine / Bignonia capreolata

Winter Gem Boxwood / Buxus japonicum

Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens

Turpentine Bush / Ericameria laricifolia (N)

Silktassel Bush / Garrya wrightii (N)

Red Yucca selections / Hesperaloe parviflora

Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata (N)

Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum spp.

India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica

Sugarbush / Rhus ovata

Evergreen Sumac / Rhus virens (N)

Rose Sage / Salvia pachyphylla

Trident Sage / Salvia x 'Trident'

 

ACCENTS / LARGER SUCCULENTS:
Chisos Agave / Agave havardiana

Parrys Agave / Agave parryi (N)

Mescal Agave / Agave parryi var. neomexicana (N)

Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum (N)

Desert Spoon / Dasylirion wheeleri (N)

Berargrass / Nolina greenei (N)

Engelmann or Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii (N)

Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata (N)

Moundlily / Yucca gloriosa

Paleleaf Yucca / Yucca pallida

Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola 

 

GROUNDCOVERS / GRASSES:
Damianita / Chrysactinia mexicana (N)

Grayleaf Cotoneaster / Cotoneaster glaucophyllus

Wright's Buckwheat / Eriogonum wrightii (N)

Monkey Grass or Lily Turf / Liriope muscari

Mondo Grass / Ophiopogon japonicum

Trailing Germander / Teucrium chamaedrys

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  • 8 months later...

Here's a healthy Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis in Albuquerque, about 35 years old. It's in Nob Hill, SE of UNM, on the north side of Garfield and west of Carlisle. Photo May 2020:

415435188_Quercus_fusiformis-NobHill1_2020-05-18-SML.thumb.jpg.f5279072ceac11ec2876f24bfa54c4ed.jpg

By chance, years ago I knew a woman who grew up in that house and told a few of us about that tree.

I recall her mother collected the seed for that live oak from a Dallas TX cemetery with a number of live oaks, but her seed was from one of the few oaks not damaged by their Dec 1983 freeze. (295 consecutive hours below 32F) It germinated and grew, so she planted it in a small area of her back yard. After it quickly grew in that space, she then moved it to the 2nd location further out in back. She told a couple local nursery owners about it, but they immediately dismissed it as not hardy, typical of still too many of your "green" industry people. I think by the time it was 10-12 feet tall, it was moved to the 3rd and final location in the photo. 

Until about 2010, there was an irrigated Bermudagrass lawn there, but the new owners put gravel over it. It might look more attractive than the usual gravelscape by adding a mass of several Nolina texana or N. greenei under it, plus some Salvia farinacae in between and at the edges.

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On 11/21/2019 at 9:26 PM, Desert DAC said:

I thought this post would have many replies and plants by now. I think "arid warm temperate" is a more accurate term than "arid subtropical" for Albuquerque and even El Paso, by the way...arid subtropical would imply warmer winters like Tucson, Presidio TX, Phoenix, Palm Springs, etc, where hard freezes below 28F are rare.

Below is a quick, very partial list that hopefully spurs more warm temperate or subtropical companion plants for hardy palms in NM, namely USDA z 7-8 in central and southern NM where several palms can grow well. I'll start with some evergreen plants that are bullet-proof, i.e. need little to no protection from cold and heat in zones where they are adapted. Some have different sun, water, and soil needs - do your research. (N) = native in New Mexico (but not everywhere in the state)

Feel free to comment or add some of your own bullet-proof warm temperate or subtropical plants, so we can have a larger list.

TREES:
Hairy Mountain Mahogany / Cercocarpus breviflorus (N)

Yaupon Holly / Ilex vomitoria

Arizona White Oak / Quercus arizonica (N)

Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis (N)

Gray Oak / Quercus grisea (N)

Desert or Shrub Live Oak / Quercus turbinella (N)

Rosewood / Vauquelinia spp.

 

SHRUBS / VINES:
Pointleaf Manzanita / Arctostaphylos pungens (N)

Algerita / Berberis hemaetocarpa (N)

Agritos / Berberis trifoiiolata (N)

Crossvine / Bignonia capreolata

Winter Gem Boxwood / Buxus japonicum

Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens

Turpentine Bush / Ericameria laricifolia (N)

Silktassel Bush / Garrya wrightii (N)

Red Yucca selections / Hesperaloe parviflora

Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata (N)

Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum spp.

India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica

Sugarbush / Rhus ovata

Evergreen Sumac / Rhus virens (N)

Rose Sage / Salvia pachyphylla

Trident Sage / Salvia x 'Trident'

 

ACCENTS / LARGER SUCCULENTS:
Chisos Agave / Agave havardiana

Parrys Agave / Agave parryi (N)

Mescal Agave / Agave parryi var. neomexicana (N)

Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum (N)

Desert Spoon / Dasylirion wheeleri (N)

Berargrass / Nolina greenei (N)

Engelmann or Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii (N)

Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata (N)

Moundlily / Yucca gloriosa

Paleleaf Yucca / Yucca pallida

Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola 

 

GROUNDCOVERS / GRASSES:
Damianita / Chrysactinia mexicana (N)

Grayleaf Cotoneaster / Cotoneaster glaucophyllus

Wright's Buckwheat / Eriogonum wrightii (N)

Monkey Grass or Lily Turf / Liriope muscari

Mondo Grass / Ophiopogon japonicum

Trailing Germander / Teucrium chamaedrys

You could add fruiting, weeping mulberry cultivars.  Thin weeping branches make them a little more cold sensitive than typical Morus alba, so are better adapted 7-8 rather than 4-6... Because of their shape and dwarf size, too, you can actually harvest the mulberries instead of stepping on them and staining your sidewalk. 

I also like Ficus carica, Quercus virginiana and Cupressus arizonica (the blue ice cultivar is a wild looking cypress).  

Salix babylonica would do well in zone 7 near a natural pond - they don’t love the cold.  Same with Nyssa sylvatica - but that tree definitely needs the wet in the winter.  Honestly that’s probably the best looking subtropical broadleaf tree I can think of.  It is naturally formed like a specimen pine, but is deciduous.

Then completely not subtropical (will widthstand cold your area will never know) but a beautiful tree nonetheless and a good complement to any yard is Gingko biloba.  Modestly drought tolerant as well, once established.

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Also I didn’t think of this but Juglans major is a beautiful subtropical highland tree with incredible wood... but only recommended for parents.  In late summer, you gotta send your kids out with Walmart bags to pick up after them!

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AAlso I didn’t think of this but Juglans major is a beautiful subtropical highland tree with incredible wood... but only recommended for parents.  In late summer, you gotta send your kids out with Walmart bags to pick up after them!

Then also cliffrose. The blooms look like something out of a doctor seuss book!

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Quercus suber / Cork Oak in Belen NM, S Eleventh St and Didier. Photo December 2013. The first time I saw this oak, Mike Melendrez took me there, and it was shaded out by an ash and possibly another tree, too. It's still deformed by that.

IMG_7259.thumb.JPG.c924667863216167f60f5c03a7db3d2b.JPG

IMG_7273.thumb.JPG.898601aa176281a6e695973f814e8d71.JPG

Here's what was left of one of the ABQ Convention Center Q. suber trees.

IMG_7285.thumb.JPG.bb3361672e94e0a1d3f3f7fb0ddedf7d.JPG

IMG_7289.thumb.JPG.81a60cd1193c7d59983a41d060276e69.JPG

It's never a good idea to plant marginal plants too close to a wall or cram them under overhangs, bridges, etc to give them a little extra protection...just assume they can mature, and establish such plants with appropriate culture. If they make it, great, and there's something better than the usual mesic, colder climate lollipop trees we can point to.  Or it dies and you are left to wonder if it would have been best to plant several of the same plant, or even several plants in some different places, to really know.

Unless one is trying to grow non hardy plants and really push it, like the South Valley saguaro I have old pics of with lights strung on it.

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  • 1 year later...
On 8/19/2020 at 8:54 PM, ahosey01 said:

AAlso I didn’t think of this but Juglans major is a beautiful subtropical highland tree with incredible wood... but only recommended for parents.  In late summer, you gotta send your kids out with Walmart bags to pick up after them!

Then also cliffrose. The blooms look like something out of a doctor seuss book!

Somehow I missed your post - Juglans major is native up in ABQ, but along a few canyons on both sides of the Sandia Mountains. A large one grows along an old river bank near Los Lunas, and there are even a few along the Rio Grande at I-25 near the Garfield exit and also along the railroad tracks between Hatch and Deming. Cliffrose reaches its eastern range in the Sandia foothills on some slopes by the La Luz Trail.

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On 8/19/2020 at 8:48 PM, ahosey01 said:

You could add fruiting, weeping mulberry cultivars.  Thin weeping branches make them a little more cold sensitive than typical Morus alba, so are better adapted 7-8 rather than 4-6... Because of their shape and dwarf size, too, you can actually harvest the mulberries instead of stepping on them and staining your sidewalk. 

I also like Ficus carica, Quercus virginiana and Cupressus arizonica (the blue ice cultivar is a wild looking cypress).  

Salix babylonica would do well in zone 7 near a natural pond - they don’t love the cold.  Same with Nyssa sylvatica - but that tree definitely needs the wet in the winter.  Honestly that’s probably the best looking subtropical broadleaf tree I can think of.  It is naturally formed like a specimen pine, but is deciduous.

Then completely not subtropical (will widthstand cold your area will never know) but a beautiful tree nonetheless and a good complement to any yard is Gingko biloba.  Modestly drought tolerant as well, once established.

All good plants, though a good number of weeping and fruiting mulberry trees grow in pre-1970's neighborhoods in ABQ. Often in the same neighborhoods as wisteria "trees". Figs are in many backyards (especially older neighborhoods), freezing to ground in the usual 20 year freezes but quickly recovering and fruiting. A few older Quercus virginiana and hybrid swarms of it up there, but since the 2000's many more Q. fusiformis are planted, even accepted by more people. Oddly, no 'Blue Ice' that I recall there, with large and older Cupressus arizonica and C. arizonica var. scabra all over pre-1970's neighborhoods there, though I think most or all Cupressus were made illegal by the City in the late 1990's (a misguided pollen ordinance).

That Salix and Nyssa seem to dislike alkaline soils and caliche, the former in the valley where in there are areas of higher water tables and the latter in the areas east and above the valley to near the mountain. Ginkgo looks stressed to me in even lawns,  from much wetter Oklahoma City and west, definitely not for the desert southwest... but you're right on the cold ginkgo takes. Z 4-5?

The good news is much of ABQ is now zone 8a (1991-2020 NOAA data), just up from 7b (previous 30 year periods). The colder spots are still zone 7, probably under 25% of the land in the city limits and west of the mountains. (little documentation even z 6b existed in most colder valley spots up there)

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On 5/6/2018 at 7:52 AM, ChrisA said:

I wanted to start a thread to share some photos of non-palm, subtropics plants that can be found in New Mexico.  

 

I am located in Albuquerque, zone 7b officially, although it has been trending more towards a cold 8a or 8b climate over the last 20 years. See my W. filifera in albuquerque post in the cold hardy forum for an analysis of this year’s winter temps.

The first photo is of a Coolibah which has been in the ground for over 10 years.  It’s had one winter where the trunk did not die back to the ground, otherwise it reliably fries and takes all summer to make several more 4-5 foot tall shoots which are thin enough to again be smoked by any temps below 25 the following winter.  Now it is in far too much shade as it’s been far outpaced by the nearby Filibusta and a California Sycamore.

Though an old post, I just remembered that in ABQ there used to be Eucalyptus gunnii and E. niphophila at their zoo, and for decades. Some used elsewhere in town and successful, mostly. In the big 20 year freezes and maybe during the more frequent hits of 5F, they freeze to ground or the lower trunks. Only to grow back to 15-20 ft the next summer. I wonder if those would be even better down where I am, in now-zone 8b, or especially barely 9a central El Paso?

E. microtheca does well here many years, but the big freezes to 0F or a little colder freeze them to the ground. That's a big cost to remove what that species becomes in 10-20 years!

Edited by Desert DAC
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On 8/14/2022 at 12:28 PM, Desert DAC said:

Though an old post, I just remembered that in ABQ there used to be Eucalyptus gunnii and E. niphophila at their zoo, and for decades. Some used elsewhere in town and successful, mostly. In the big 20 year freezes and maybe during the more frequent hits of 5F, they freeze to ground or the lower trunks. Only to grow back to 15-20 ft the next summer. I wonder if those would be even better down where I am, in now-zone 8b, or especially barely 9a central El Paso?

E. microtheca does well here many years, but the big freezes to 0F or a little colder freeze them to the ground. That's a big cost to remove what that species becomes in 10-20 years!

Speaking to the gunni at the zoo. That was planted in the early to mid 80's. I lived directly across the river from the zoo for about 15 of this year's. I seen them survive wood hardy from several zero events.  They became taller than the cottonwood trees in the bosque. 2011 took them out. 

I have a plant that I will add this weekend.  Big, leafy, evergreen, 2011 survivor.......

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On 8/14/2022 at 12:22 PM, Desert DAC said:

All good plants, though a good number of weeping and fruiting mulberry trees grow in pre-1970's neighborhoods in ABQ. Often in the same neighborhoods as wisteria "trees". Figs are in many backyards (especially older neighborhoods), freezing to ground in the usual 20 year freezes but quickly recovering and fruiting. A few older Quercus virginiana and hybrid swarms of it up there, but since the 2000's many more Q. fusiformis are planted, even accepted by more people. Oddly, no 'Blue Ice' that I recall there, with large and older Cupressus arizonica and C. arizonica var. scabra all over pre-1970's neighborhoods there, though I think most or all Cupressus were made illegal by the City in the late 1990's (a misguided pollen ordinance).

That Salix and Nyssa seem to dislike alkaline soils and caliche, the former in the valley where in there are areas of higher water tables and the latter in the areas east and above the valley to near the mountain. Ginkgo looks stressed to me in even lawns,  from much wetter Oklahoma City and west, definitely not for the desert southwest... but you're right on the cold ginkgo takes. Z 4-5?

The good news is much of ABQ is now zone 8a (1991-2020 NOAA data), just up from 7b (previous 30 year periods). The colder spots are still zone 7, probably under 25% of the land in the city limits and west of the mountains. (little documentation even z 6b existed in most colder valley spots up there)

I'll stick with 7b/8a.. or zone 7 with 8a microclimate. Lol..It.. like my dreams about palms in Abq is a zit that gets popped.

The heat island map is interesting.. considering we are in a valley surrounded by elevations and mountains of 7000-11000 feet on 3 sides..

It gets wiped out easy with cold air drainage and winter storms that blast it off the map!

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20 hours ago, jwitt said:

Speaking to the gunni at the zoo. That was planted in the early to mid 80's. I lived directly across the river from the zoo for about 15 of this year's. I seen them survive wood hardy from several zero events.  They became taller than the cottonwood trees in the bosque. 2011 took them out. 

I have a plant that I will add this weekend.  Big, leafy, evergreen, 2011 survivor.......

Good to hear that about the E gunni - another place I should visit while up next time. I had no idea about their pre-2011 height. Here in Las Cruces and El Paso, the E. microtheca are over 20 ft again, but that's alot of dead wood to remove. Though possibly worth it for many years if not many plants.

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/22/2020 at 5:50 AM, Desert DAC said:

I'll post some photos of some of the plants I listed earlier in the thread. Here's an 7 year old blog post partly on that topic:

https://dryheatblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/last-of-fall-in-winter/

David, I've been following your blog for quite some time, I'm into xeriscaping and I like a lot your Southwest landscape design projects, so neat and carefully thought-out, plant selection, spacing. Honestly, your blog already inspired me to start some species from seeds (such as Dasylirion wheeleri, for example). I'm from Namangan, Uzbekistan (USDA zone 8a, AHS heat-zone 8), another sunny dry far inland place on Earth that sits in a mountain protected valley/basin, we have some similarities with the central NM-ABQ, and I believe that some interesting NM/SW desert natives can be tried in another desert too, even if it is on the opposite side of the world from them.

Actually I had some non-palm plants related questions about some plants you often use in your projects. My first question would be about Chrysactinia mexicana. Is Damianita fully hardy to 8a zone? what about 7b? Can it be safely grown in Albuquerque? Alamogordo? I'm asking this because there is a lot of controversial information on hardiness of this interesting evergreen plant. According to ASU it's hardy to zone "8 (with protection)-11" (protection, what protection?) (https://www.public.asu.edu/~camartin/plants/Plant html files/chrysactiniamexicana.html). Chrysactinia mexicana is a part of the plant collection at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden BUT it is growing in a conservatory there, Desert Conservatory (https://www.cabq.gov/artsculture/biopark/garden/exhibits/plant-collection), not outside...

Edited by MSX
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22 hours ago, MSX said:

David, I've been following your blog ... thought-out, plant selection, spacing. Honestly, your blog already inspired me to start some species from seeds (such as Dasylirion wheeleri, for example). I'm from Namangan, Uzbekistan (USDA zone 8a, AHS heat-zone 8), another sunny dry far inland place on Earth that sits in a mountain protected valley/basin, we have some similarities with the central NM-ABQ, and I believe that some interesting NM/SW desert natives can be tried in another desert too, even if it is on the opposite side of the world from them.

Very cool! Thanks for that, and I plan to post on my blog more with 3 post this past few months! I never know who's reading the blog.

I looked up your climate, and it is fairly similar to ours, except your much higher latitude and lower elevation so were milder in the winter - summer. I'm at 32N and 1,250 meters elevation (4,100 ft), and Albuquerque is 35N and 325 meters higher. What is the coldest low temperatures your city has had? 

You're definitely right on being able to grow similar plants, and what I could find, your city is dry enough in winter that should not be a problem for some plants, but the steady cool for 2-3 months might be. Albuquerque and Las Cruces grow excellent Ephedra, pomegranates, figs, or pistachios. In Las Cruces or warmer like Las Vegas we can grow Nannarhops ritchiana, Phoenix dactylifera, etc. We're both analogous environments. Like Perth or Adelaide in Australia are analogous to San Diego California, Casa Blanca Morocco, or Santiago Chile. Or Phoenix Arizona and Baghdad Iraq.

I found these climate comparisons. We really have different seasons of moisture, though:

https://weatherspark.com/compare/y/107225~3318~3287/Comparison-of-the-Average-Weather-in-Namangan-Albuquerque-and-Las-Cruces#Figures-Temperature

https://weatherspark.com/compare/y/107225~3318~3287/Comparison-of-the-Average-Weather-in-Namangan-Albuquerque-and-Las-Cruces#Figures-CloudCover

https://weatherspark.com/compare/y/107225~3318~3287/Comparison-of-the-Average-Weather-in-Namangan-Albuquerque-and-Las-Cruces#Figures-Rainfall

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On 12/22/2022 at 10:03 AM, MSX said:

Actually I had some non-palm plants related questions about some plants you often use in your projects. My first question would be about Chrysactinia mexicana. Is Damianita fully hardy to 8a zone? what about 7b? Can it be safely grown in Albuquerque? Alamogordo? I'm asking this because there is a lot of controversial information on hardiness of this interesting evergreen plant. According to ASU it's hardy to zone "8 (with protection)-11" (protection, what protection?) (https://www.public.asu.edu/~camartin/plants/Plant html files/chrysactiniamexicana.html). Chrysactinia mexicana is a part of the plant collection at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden BUT it is growing in a conservatory there, Desert Conservatory (https://www.cabq.gov/artsculture/biopark/garden/exhibits/plant-collection), not outside...

Damianita is fully hardy to zone 7a, where summers are hot and winters fairly dry. Damianita is very safely grown in many landscapes in Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, El Paso, and from California to Texas. After using damianita in several of my landscapes in z 7b ABQ, others saw it and started using it. It's also used in many landscapes in the hot, humid summers of z 8 in Dallas and San Antonio Texas. Santa Fe in z 6 may be too cool for it, but you never know.

Damianita is native in the wild to areas of zone 7: the hills west of Roswell NM and Guadalupe Mountains and then z 8 just east of Alamogordo, both areas often in limestone substrates. It's native range continues east to the more humid, wooded prairies around Austin Texas, but that's z 8b.

I had 15 or more damianitas growing at my last house in ABQ from 1998-2013, though some were at their life expectancy. Mine and others had no damage in a 20-30 year winter in Jan and Feb 2011, with multiple freezes and -18c (0F) lows and even a -24c one night...and 85 consecutive hours below 0c. We also had a severe drought then for 3 years. But that level of cold is very infrequent, every 2 decades or more. Las Cruces gets those freeze events less often and not quite as cold, but still. My damianita plants were on an exposed east side, one of the coolest parts of my garden due to violent canyon winds every 1-2 weeks, though our west side of the mountains moderated extreme cold. Thin decomposed granite soils, some granite bedrock. My plants occasionally reseeded into other areas of my property and adjacent ones. Fully hardy!

Controversial information - that's mostly because some authors or designers make statements about plants they don't know well. ASU (I've met Prof Chris Carter) rarely gets below 0c, so they don't comprehend the cold of NM or TX. Or why the damianitas at the ABQ BioPark are planted inside but not outside. My own home landscape started in 1998 blew people away, and I sheltered or protected nothing - just "right plant - right place". I designed numerous landscapes from 1990-2018 in the southwest that included plants often called "zone pushing" by unknowing "experts", getting little maintenance and often were native to their region. 

Try out those plants from seed or otherwise, and report back. You'll have successes, for sure!

Edited by Desert DAC
some unclear grammar
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33 minutes ago, Desert DAC said:

 

Controversial information - that's mostly because some authors or designers make statements about plants they don't know well. ASU (I've met Prof Chris Carter) rarely gets below 0c, so they don't comprehend the cold of NM or TX. Or why the damianitas at the ABQ BioPark are planted inside but not outside. My own home landscape started in 1998 blew people away, and I sheltered or protected nothing - just "right plant - right place". I designed numerous landscapes from 1990-2018 in the southwest that included plants often called "zone pushing" by unknowing "experts", getting little maintenance and often were native to their region. 

Try out those plants from seed or otherwise, and report back. You'll have successes, for sure!

:greenthumb: Couldn't agree more w/ this..  The "local" knowledge / lack of broader knowledge challenge on plant hardiness / overall adaptability is also quite prevalent among some "experts" on the nursery side of things as well here ( and other places )..  Many "discussions" on that subject w/ a few of them at work in the past, lol.. 

As long as you can receive seed to try, ^ X2 the idea of trialing any southwestern U.S. plants where you're located -that will tolerate your winter / summer conditions of course-.. 

Might include some adaptable stuff from the Great Basin / High Plains ( Utah, Colorado, Wyoming )  ..maybe far Western KS and Nebraska.. also.

As far as Damianita itself, ..I like it,  but find myself attracted by Turpentine Bush ( Ericameria laricifolia, and related ) and some of the showier Snakeweeds ( Genus Gutierrezia ) a tad more..

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4 hours ago, SailorBold said:

I must try that plant.. ! I just looked it up.. thats a nice one. 

At my old house, the second bloom in the monsoon season

CrisRes-Front02_2005-08-13.jpg

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On 9/29/2022 at 7:39 PM, jwitt said:

Speaking to the gunni at the zoo. That was planted in the early to mid 80's. I lived directly across the river from the zoo for about 15 of this year's. I seen them survive wood hardy from several zero events.  They became taller than the cottonwood trees in the bosque. 2011 took them out. 

I have a plant that I will add this weekend.  Big, leafy, evergreen, 2011 survivor.......

So those eucs at the zoo died, including the roots? That's crazy they got that tall. 

What's the 2011 survivor big, leafy evergreen... Wilson Holly? Eleagnus pungens? Vauquelinia californica? (I know those sail through anything ABQ can do)

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1 hour ago, Desert DAC said:

At my old house, the second bloom in the monsoon season

CrisRes-Front02_2005-08-13.jpg

Ty for sharing that.. it reminds me of yarrow plants I used to see walking to school..but smaller..   actually I think I need to plant that along my entire front area by the street..

So I'm assuming no additional water needed??

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2 hours ago, Desert DAC said:

So those eucs at the zoo died, including the roots? That's crazy they got that tall. 

What's the 2011 survivor big, leafy evergreen... Wilson Holly? Eleagnus pungens? Vauquelinia californica? (I know those sail through anything ABQ can do)

I do not know about the roots.  They were in a large  courtyard with a dozen or so large trachies that are also gone.  I do not know if 2011 took out those specific trachies.  That area also got renovated. 

There were some also in the Corrales neighborhood that came back from the roots and quickly became large bushes then gone.  They saw below zero the following winter and that may have been the ultimate killer. Not sure.

Holly, eleagnus I do not really give a glance nor notice.  I am sure they were "fine".  The small tree V. Californica's in the area survived(wood hardy).. 

The surprise. Fatsia Japonica wood hardy with some actual leaves surviving!

I actually have pics of the eucs, on a hard drive..........somewhere.....

And on a side note there was a plaque or such saying palms and eucs grew in ABQ.  

(Chinese windmill and E Gunni)

Edited by jwitt
Clarification
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Fatsia Japonica had some canes that were wood hardy. Some wood was lost.  Even some leaves survived. 

So I misspoke saying  or implying, completely wood hardy. Sorry. 

Oh, and they will only grow in shade here. My survivors are on the north side of the house. 

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On 12/23/2022 at 9:43 PM, Desert DAC said:

Very cool! Thanks for that, and I plan to post on my blog more with 3 post this past few months! I never know who's reading the blog.

I looked up your climate, and it is fairly similar to ours, except your much higher latitude and lower elevation so were milder in the winter - summer. I'm at 32N and 1,250 meters elevation (4,100 ft), and Albuquerque is 35N and 325 meters higher. What is the coldest low temperatures your city has had? 

You're definitely right on being able to grow similar plants, and what I could find, your city is dry enough in winter that should not be a problem for some plants, but the steady cool for 2-3 months might be. Albuquerque and Las Cruces grow excellent Ephedra, pomegranates, figs, or pistachios. In Las Cruces or warmer like Las Vegas we can grow Nannarhops ritchiana, Phoenix dactylifera, etc. We're both analogous environments. Like Perth or Adelaide in Australia are analogous to San Diego California, Casa Blanca Morocco, or Santiago Chile. Or Phoenix Arizona and Baghdad Iraq.

David, looking forward to read your new posts and thank you very much for your cryctal clear explanation on damianitas hardiness range! Proven hardy, heat & drough tolerant, evergreen, excellent bloomer. Thanks to your blog I've discovered for myself some certain, less well-known species!

Well, the lowest temperature our city (airport) has had was -18C/0F, included it in this table

463348681_NMUZMETAR1.jpg.75f659cb4efb279620f1a14fb7439f21.jpg

I think we're closer to central New Mexico-Albuquerque rather than to Las Cruces and southern NM as we have almost the same stuff growing, like big fig trees, pomegranates, pistachio. Pistachio is growing on slopes and foothills outside the city, it's originating from here, from Central Asia, often found growing together with another native Capparis spinosa (Caper).

IMG_20221008_091936.jpg

IMG_20210503_124907.thumb.jpg.ef1826a34dbb16e5c96892334bb7f184.jpg

IMG_20210508_113714.thumb.jpg.c029e68b5dec6542a6aa2dc00257f553.jpg

IMG_20210508_113420.thumb.jpg.b039665a04e5d5623d11786284a7b4ed.jpg

IMG_20210508_113738.thumb.jpg.5a237ea77ecabef35bef86350f2a71d7.jpg

IMG_20210508_103740.thumb.jpg.b50517d31b85667dfc43776e487c98ef.jpg

 

 

Edited by MSX
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18 hours ago, Desert DAC said:

At my old house, the second bloom in the monsoon season

CrisRes-Front02_2005-08-13.jpg

 

16 hours ago, SailorBold said:

Ty for sharing that.. it reminds me of yarrow plants I used to see walking to school..but smaller..   actually I think I need to plant that along my entire front area by the street..

So I'm assuming no additional water needed??

You bet, I need to locate some of my other pics of Damianita plantings in some other landscapes.  I think the water needs are similar to desert willow or beargrass, so a little more than sotol, prickly pear, or desert marigold.

I wish I had drip irrigation there including on those, to get more growth and flowering. I hand watered weekly to establish a year, then every month or so. I had thin soil on granite bedrock, so it may have been drier than ideal. If you have sand in Rio Rancho it may help to allow deeper rooting and hold moisture, but use a 2" layer of rock or gravel mulch over the area. Probably drip with 1/2 GPH emitters to be safe.

My area was "wetter" than much of ABQ at about 10-12" / year at 5650 ft along the foothills. Only Glenwood Hills up to Sandia Heights is probably in the 12-15" / year.

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2 hours ago, MSX said:

David, looking forward to read your new posts and thank you very much for your cryctal clear explanation on damianitas hardiness range! Proven hardy, heat & drough tolerant, evergreen, excellent bloomer. Thanks to your blog I've discovered for myself some certain, less well-known species!

Well, the lowest temperature our city (airport) has had was -18C/0F, included it in this table

463348681_NMUZMETAR1.jpg.75f659cb4efb279620f1a14fb7439f21.jpg

I think we're closer to central New Mexico-Albuquerque rather than to Las Cruces and southern NM as we have almost the same stuff growing, like big fig trees, pomegranates, pistachio. Pistachio is growing on slopes and foothills outside the city, it's originating from here, from Central Asia, often found growing together with another native Capparis spinosa (Caper).

IMG_20221008_091936.jpg

IMG_20210503_124907.thumb.jpg.ef1826a34dbb16e5c96892334bb7f184.jpg

IMG_20210508_113714.thumb.jpg.c029e68b5dec6542a6aa2dc00257f553.jpg

IMG_20210508_113420.thumb.jpg.b039665a04e5d5623d11786284a7b4ed.jpg

IMG_20210508_113738.thumb.jpg.5a237ea77ecabef35bef86350f2a71d7.jpg

IMG_20210508_103740.thumb.jpg.b50517d31b85667dfc43776e487c98ef.jpg

 

 

Excellent! I look forward to reading when I get back home. Capers, too? Wow. 

That's an amazing fig! In my 30+ years living in the NM region, I've never seen a fig that large in El Paso, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, or probably anywhere. Usually they grow to 10-15 feet tall, then freeze to the ground every 10-20 years. More often in ABQ than here, but down here, too. But figs recover nicely in the region, and are soon fruiting again. We did have a fig tree over 15 feet tall at our last house, in Montgomery Alabama when my father was in the Air Force.

More later when I get back...

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